My husband and I are through our Vacation Bible School part of our Summer. Our churches scheduled things so that I could be at both schools. It was a great 2 weeks – I’m really tired, but it really was fantastic to spend so much time with the littles we serve.
I start planning my VBS for the following year about 2 weeks after the current year’s program is over. It’s 11 1/2 months of planning, and it’s over in the blink of an eye. But really, it’s my favourite time of my year. It is such a pleasure to work with teams of people who have come together just to be Jesus to a gathered bunch of kids.
The curriculum may differ, and the dynamics of the week are never the same, but the goal of both of our week-long events are identical – to teach children (and hopefully their parents) how much Jesus loves them. More than half of the children at either Camp are not regular church attenders, with some having never been in a Christ-focused setting.
It was important at both schools that we presented the Bible truths in a way that didn’t assume that our guests knew anything about God’s Word – as one young man illustrated when he asked me “What makes Jesus so special?” I could have responded with a pat answer, but instead we had a great conversation about who Jesus was and why He was so special…
It was a beautiful thing at the Adventure Camp at SGK to watch the kids worship with the leadership of Nikki Fletcher. She has such a great way with the kids, and became our own in-house rock star. Children are natural worshippers – raised voices and hands, and love to learn new songs that are engaging. At one point, they brough tears to my eyes as they praised God singing “Mighty to save”…that song will never be the same for me again – and I will cherish that.
At St. Paul’s, I had the joy to spend the week being one of the leaders with the grade 3-4 group of kids. I love this age group…they have questions, and are hungry for the answer – and they just want to “Get it”. We had a ton of fun, and it warmed my heart to see them hiding God’s Word in their hearts as they proudly recited all 5 memory verses (complete with addresses).
My concern and passion for these kids is finding a way to have the learning that took place during our week(s) together not be lost after the following Monday. To that end, I make a commitment to my families that I will have follow-up activities for them to engage in with their kids. It’s not just me. Recently my blog was mentioned in the May/June issue of Group Publishing’s Children’s Ministry Magazine: http://www.childrensministry.com/article.asp?ID=2418. The article has great suggestions for being intentional with family follow-up from a Vacation Bible School program.
They and their children were engaged for a week at your church, don’t let that engagement go stale. Encourage them, help the children remember what they talked about during the week. Pray for them, and let them know that you are. That is a summer church program with an Orange focus…equipping families to “water the seeds” that were planted during your week with their children.
Jeff and I are getting our follow ups ready to go, and we will continue to pray – for the children we had the honour of spending our time with. For the parents who want to know that their children’s eternities are in order, and for the families that seek to make their walk with Jesus more significant for all their members.